CHOC Leading the Way in Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Children

The sudden death of a child and/or athlete is a tragic yet rare occurrence that causes significant concern in both the general public and medical community.  Strategies to prevent these catastrophes have become a prominent public health debate. To address this critical topic affecting our young athletes, a symposium on the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in children and adolescents is being planned at Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa in Anaheim for January 14-15, 2011.

We spoke to Dr. Anjan Batra, medical director of electrophysiology at the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute, about the importance of this event:

Q: What will be presented at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symposium?
A: Topics will include clinical syndromes associated with the risk of sudden death, arrhythmias in the young, use of automated external and implantable defibrillators in children, and screening, with an emphasis on defining levels of evidence and areas of controversy in management decisions. It will be open to pediatricians, pediatric cardiologists, electrophysiologists and affiliated professionals involved and interested in the care of young people, including the general public.

Q: What message do you have for Orange County families about this topic?
A:  Orange County has an estimated population of just over 3 million, making it the second most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County. It is also the county with the highest per capita of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Olympic athletes.  This may be one of the reasons for what appears to be a heightened awareness for the prevention of sudden cardiac death in young athletes in Orange County.

Q: What warning signs should parents look for that suggest their young athlete may have a heart problem?
A:  Certain symptoms can suggest that your child or teen has a heart problem that needs a doctor’s attention. This is especially true if symptoms occur during sports or other activities. It’s important to ask if your child has:
* Been dizzy or light-headed?
* Passed out, or nearly passed out?
* Had chest pain or pressure?
* Felt like his heart was racing or skipping beats?

Talk with your doctor if your child experiences any of these symptoms, which may put your child at risk. Keep in mind that these signs do not necessarily mean that your child has a heart problem. For example, a child who faints during sports may have low blood sugar or other temporary problems. A doctor can help find the cause. For more tips, check out this Kids Health article:

For details about the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Symposium on January 14-15, please click here:

For information on the LEAPS Conference (Life Threatening Events Associated with Pediatric Sports) on January 13, please click here:

Remind Kids About the Spirit of Giving

The holiday season is in full swing at CHOC and all around us. This time of year is a great opportunity to instill the spirit of giving to your children. You can do fun, simple things with them that will remind them that it’s not all just about what Santa is going to bring them! Here’s a few tips to share with your family:

Recycle and Donate Toys
Have your children go through their toys and take out a few that they no longer use. Help your children pick out the toys that are still in good condition and put them in a box meant for giving. Locate an organization, church, or shelter that accepts toys and accompany them to take the toys themselves. Keep in mind that some organizations accept new toys only.

Make Holiday Cards or Gifts
Make holiday cards with your children. This can teach your children that the gift you’re giving doesn’t have to be expensive and that sometimes a simple, heartfelt greeting is what counts. Or, if you’re pressed for time, involve your kids in the selection process when you are purchasing pre-made cards.

Similarly, involve your kids in making homemade gifts or baked goods. Or, give them a budget and have them do a little shopping for family members, to teach them about budgeting.

Give to a Child
Here at CHOC, we see many remarkable stories every day of people giving to children in need. What better way to show your little ones the importance of giving, than to teach them to give to another child. Contact your organization of choice — some of them may be hosting toy or food drives, “giving trees,” or other fundraisers specifically for children or families in need. Check with the organization to see what’s the best way you and your kids can help.

There are many other ideas to help your kids get into the giving spirit. Some of these could even become family traditions that your kids will happily look back on. Explain to your kids that giving can also be something as simple as helping an elderly person load groceries into their car (with a parent nearby). Talk to your kids about people in need and ask them how their act of kindness made them feel. They are sure to come back with some touching answers!

Happy Holidays from the CHOC Children’s family to yours!

CHOC and Disney Celebrate It’s a Small World

In partnership with Disneyland Resort and CHOC Children’s, Sylvania helped brighten the holidays for a special little girl named Adela and her family. Adela Jauregui, 8, a patient at CHOC Children’s, along with some Disney friends, helped light up the It’s a Small World ride at the Disneyland Resort to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

CHOC Kids’ Cards Spread Holiday Cheer

The holidays have snuck up on us, once again! To kick off the holiday season, consider sending CHOC Kids’ Cards – special holiday cards created by current and former CHOC patients – to your friends and family. The cards celebrate children’s art and creativity and when you purchase them, you continue to support CHOC’s mission.

The 2010 collection features 16 new designs ranging from a cozy, winter cabin to a surfing Santa. The collection also includes birthday cards and note cards suitable throughout the year.

To order cards, or for more information, please call 714-970-2462 or visit